Last weekend’s energetic modern-dress youth-theater presentation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, produced by the Carolina Arts Festival and the Town of Cary and performed outdoors in the Sertoma Amphitheatre in Bond Park, was a superlative showcase for the talents of up-and-coming actor Lucius Robinson, who gave a gritty performance in the title role, and director Noah Putterman, who staged his own muscular abridgement of the Scottish play, set in the near future, with an admirable sense of the play’s politics and its supernatural aspects.

If Robinson can overcome an annoying habit of going momentarily slack-jawed in the middle of speeches, he has a bright and shining stage career ahead of him. He and Caitlin Wells, who played Lady Macbeth with equal fervor, handled the difficult soliloquies in which their characters bared their tormented souls with great aplomb.

DJ Robinson gave a regal performance as Banquo; Chip Rodgers and especially Derek Taylor were good as Donalbain and Malcolm, the outraged heirs of the murdered King Duncan (David Godshall); Andrew Bosworth had his moments as Macduff; but Loren Hughes gave a vivid, truly heart-breaking performance as poor Lady Macduff, abandoned with her small children to be slaughtered by Macbeth’s scurvy henchmen. Josh Hattem was good as the ever-loyal Ross; Brandon Louk and Claire Fitzgerald doubled capably as nobles at court and ignoble murderers; and Scott Waldrup was a hoot as the drunken Porter; and Sarah Dempsey, Amanda McDavid, and Lizzy Thomas were wonderfully wicked as the three Weird Sisters.

Technical director Jeremy Stamps, set designer Chip Rodgers, lighting and sound designer Scott McAdams, costume designer Denise Schumaker, properties mistress Jennifer Carpenter, and stage combat specialist Joel Rainey all combined with executive producer Lou Anne Crumpler, producer Allen Reep, and director Noah Putterman to make this youth-theater production of Macbeth a night to remember, despite airliners flying overhead and a ragged, impertinent, and ultimately incorrigible chorus of frogs and insects completely indifferent to the timeless tragedy of Shakespeare performed in their midst.

Carolina Arts Festival: Town of Cary: Macbeth (e-text from the First Folio, 1623):



MINI-PREVIEW: Carolina Arts Festival and the Town of Cary: Macbeth

by Robert W. McDowell

Macbeth (The Carolina Arts Festival and the Town of Cary, 8 p.m. Aug. 4-6 in the Sertoma Amphitheatre in Bond Park, 801 High House Rd., Cary, NC) is an all-star youth production of this epic Shakespearean tragedy of blind ambition, first performed in 1605-06. Recent Enloe High School graduate Noah Putterman will direct the show. (In June, when Putterman was honored as one of this year’s 20 national Presidential Scholars in the Arts, he performed for President and Mrs. Bush at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. This fall, he will attend Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.) According to the show’s producer, Allen Reep of the Carolina Arts Festival, “[This] production [of Macbeth] is much more than the usual ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ summer fare. Set in the post-apocalyptic world where all the adults have been killed, gangs of rival teens take over the land … fighting amongst themselves for control … reflecting the gang culture of today. Director Noah Putterman has assembled an all-star Triangle cast. Lucius Robinson and Caitlin Wells star as Macbeth and his lady. The cast includes Andrew Bosworth, Sarah Demsey, Clare FitzGerald, David Godshall, Josh Hatten, Loren Hughes, Brandon Louk, Amanda McDavid, D.J. Robinson, Chip Rogers, Derek Taylor, Lizzy Thomas, and Scott Waldrup.” Reep adds, “The Carolina Arts Festival has produced Broadway Rocks for the past three years at Regency Park in Cary and produced Terry Mann’s Romeo & Juliet: The Musical last September with 80 Wake County high school students.” Note: Tickets will be sold at the door.